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SpongeBob SquarePants - Home Sweet Pineapple

Paramount // Unrated // January 4, 2005
List Price: $16.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted January 6, 2005 | E-mail the Author
In 10 Words or Less
The 11th "best of" collection of SpongeBob goodness

The Show
"SpongeBob Squarepants" charts the adventures of SpongeBob, an anthropomorphic sponge who lives under the sea in a pineapple in the small town of Bikini Bottom, near his friend Patrick, a starfish, and his job at a fast-food joint called The Krusty Krab. There's a goofy, purely fun feel to the show, which appeals to the child in everyone, kid or adult, but with plenty of that over-their-heads comedy aimed at parents. Spongebob is the ultimate good-time cartoon.

This best-of collection contains eight, mostly 1st-season half-episodes, without the themes that have marked the recent SpongeBob DVDs. Let's take a look at what's included:

Home Sweet Pineapple - An early episode from the series sees SpongeBob's home eaten by Neematodes, a band of hungry, hungry worms. Thanks to SB and Patrick's general uselessness, they are unable to put his pineapple back together, so the SpongeMan considers moving in with his parents. A good Patrick and SpongeBob duet.

Band Geeks - Squidward wants to start a marching band, and needs SpongeBob's help. With the large cast and varied instruments, there are some really good opportunities for jokes. Watching Plankton play harmonica is a series highlight, as is the big finale, with some odd live-action footage.

Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm - SpongeBob doesn't want Sandy to fight the giant worm, but she won't listen. As with most Sandy focused episodes, this is an odd one, with lots of the still-frame jokes that work so great. One of the best-looking episodes on the disc.

Ripped Pants - In the second-half of the first SpongeBob episode, SpongeBob rips his pants lifting weights, only to earn laughs for it, without knowing why. In practicing his new "act," he angers Sandy, who leaves with Larry the Lobster. A great start for the series.

Sandy's Rocket - A "Twilight Zone"-like episode has SpongeBob and Patrick accidentally launching Sandy's rocket while trying to "alien-proof" it for a trip to the moon. Going off-course, they end up back in Bikini Bottom, but they think they are in space, and their friends are aliens they seek to capture. Another Patrick and Bob classic.

Culture Shock - Squidward's talent show at The Krusty Krab dismisses SpongeBob, because he's not allowed to perform, and instead has to work backstage. But Squiddie quickly sees the audience is more interested in the Yellow Fellow than himself. Cute, but nothing special.

MuscleBob BuffPants - SpongeBob's back at the weightlifting game, but after Sandy's training doesn't work, he takes the easy way out, getting fake inflatable muscles. A weightlifting competition threatens to expose him though. The chance to see a full-bodied muscleman SpongeBob isn't something to miss.

Employee of the Month - The competition for Employee of the Month at The Krusty Krab gets intense between SpongeBob and Squidward. This episode takes full advantage of all the joke openings at The Krusty Krab, and delivers some funny moments, including a cracked-out SpongeB.

Eight full-frame episodes fill this DVD, along with a sparse spread of bonus features. The disc has a cute animated main menu, along with static sub-menus, featuring a construction-site fence theme. Episodes can be viewed using a "Play All" option or an episode selection menu. Interestingly, unlike the previous disc ("Sponge for Hire") there's no set-up menu, as English 2.0 is the only audio track, and there are no subtitles, though the DVD has captioning. There's also a special features menu. The disc comes packaged in a keepcase, with a promo sheet for Nick DVDs and a special offer (see The Extras.)

The Quality
The full-frame video on this disc looks nice, but as these are some of the oldest episodes, they don't look as good as later seasons. Outside of some light grain, the only problems are seen in dark outlines on animated parts, which end up jagged. The edges of eyes are one of the big problems. For all the problems, the video is encoded at a very high bitrate, averaging almost 9Mbps. The audio, presented in 2.0 Dolby, is good and clear, though it's standard TV fare.

The Extras
The SpongeBob DVDs have steadily declined in terms of bonuses, since the releases of the season collections. The Special Features menu has three items, Cast Bios, Credits and Previews, but none of the three are very special. The seven Cast Bios are brief excerpts from an upcoming SpongeBob book; text screens for the show's main characters. They are of slight interest to fans. The credits, for each episode, are run together in one reel (though they also run after the "play all" option), while a preview reel is also available, with trailers for The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, "SpongeBob SquarePants" Complete Season Two, "All Grown Up: Lucky 13," "DuelMasters," "Transformers: Energon" and the "Tak 2" video game. Inside the keepcase is probably the best extra, a coupon with a URL for a SpongeBob screensaver.

The Bottom Line
Every episode on this disc is available on another collection, be it the first two complete seasons, or the two earlier collections that included "Band Geeks" and "Ripped Pants." If this would be your first SpongeBob DVD, and money isn't a concern, spring for the complete season sets instead. If you have other single-disc collections, this isn't a bad way to go, but the repetitions are an annoyance that's likely to repeat itself in future "best ofs." Owners of the first season DVDs can steer clear, with just two non-1st season episodes.

Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.

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*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.

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